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Letter: Mascoma Board Wastes Another Year

To the Editor:

The responses published on Oct. 5 to Malcolm Love’s letter demonstrate that these gentlemen failed to fully read any of his “epistles.” Insulting independent thinkers (“minions”) and saying that they “don’t support education” and “will never support the renovation” are not half-truths, but total nonsense. Love’s unheeded urgings for immediate action to address the serious issues of safety, access and some upgrades at Mascoma Valley Regional High School should be reflected in the minutes of several School Board meetings, including his support for the $2.2 million pellet boilers.

Speaking of “half-truths,” the recent district newsletter touted renovation in order to “enhance access and safety,” “upgrade safety and accessibility” and “improve instructional spaces.” This plays on voters’ emotions to support the School Board’s agenda of betting our taxes on an unnecessary expansion in hope of attracting population growth. George Caccavaro Jr. is correct; it is all about “wallets” — but the school’s wallet, with little to no regard for the community.

Analysis of state and federal statistics finds no supporting data for building a white elephant. Dave Shinnlinger’s extrapolation about how many high school students there will be in the future based on the size of the current kindergarten class overlooks the attrition that has historically occurred as a class progresses.

The board’s inflexibility has wasted another year during which needed safety and access improvements and some upgrades could have been completed. Had the 2013 proposal addressed those serious issues without unnecessary expansion, we wouldn’t have to be concerned about interest rates and inflation.

Home value increases are an unknown, but additional taxes for an inflated school proposal are not, and the only way for many to absorb additional taxes is to mortgage their futures. Whether a home was inherited, built with sweat equity or purchased from a lifetime of work, this burden would be a blow to the golden years we all expected. It is unfortunate that Caccavaro inappropriately and incorrectly attempted to use a home’s assessed value as an indicator of personal finances.

Be brave in March 2014; put the expansions on separate warrant articles, and let the voters decide on what is necessary and affordable.

Christine MacDonald

Canaan

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